Lives of the fellows

David John Gould

b.23 December 1947 d.28 October 2004
MB ChB Leeds(1972) MRCP(1975) FRCP(1991)

When David Gould went to Cornwall in 1979 as a consultant dermatologist there were minimal facilities, some beds in a cottage hospital in Falmouth and clinics scattered all over Cornwall. By the time of his sudden death from heart failure he had led the department to prominence, with a purpose-built central unit with five consultants, two associate specialists, two registrars and a thriving academic research department. He had developed a wide reputation as a very able clinician and was known nationally for his work in postgraduate medical education.

David was born in Sheffield, brought up in Doncaster, and went to Leeds Medical School, where he obtained a distinction in surgery in his finals. He was inspired by Bill Cunliffe and soon became dermatology registrar in Leeds, and subsequently lecturer in Sheffield, with Ian Sneddon [Munk's Roll, Vol.VIII, p.478].

Moving to Cornwall meant an extremely heavy clinical load and excessive travelling to multiple peripheral clinics, but David thrived on this, maintaining his academic interests, publishing papers on subjects varying from acne to calcified ears in the Cornish!

During the 1990s he became the prime mover in setting up the Cornwall dermatology research unit, in conjunction with Leo Slater from Cornwall College, looking at the effects on the skin of sunlight, pollution and anti-oxidants such as green tea, especially in relation to the development of skin cancer. Several students have now obtained PhDs as a result. He was always eager to encourage others to do research and write papers, and spent much time in support of other people's projects.

At the same time he developed his interest in education, becoming director of postgraduate education in Cornwall, associate dean for Cornwall for the South Western Deanery, and senior lecturer in the new Peninsula Medical School. He was also involved in College affairs, and, unusually for a dermatologist, was an examiner for the MRCP.

David was unable to refuse anybody's request for help and was everybody's friend. As a result, he carried a huge workload, with large clinics in which he assembled the most problematic patients, some of whom became very dependent on him. At his memorial service Truro Cathedral was filled to capacity, giving some measure of the respect in which he was held by his friends, colleagues and patients alike.

He had a succession of MG sports cars, which he drove with great passion, and a small boat which he loved to sail in Falmouth harbour. Once a year he chartered a larger yacht with a group of friends to go wherever the wind would take them. David would get involved in every aspect of the cruise, from navigation, to repairing the engine and cooking.

He shared his love of good food and wine with his wife Jane, a home economist. He met her whilst in his second year at medical school, and they married four days after he qualified. They threw many lively parties, which he always enjoyed. In this spirit, at the time of his death, David was planning a fundraising St Valentine's ball, which has now been held in his memory in aid of Cornwall dermatology research. He and Jane also liked to go fly-fishing. Much to David's wry amusement, it was usually Jane who caught the salmon. David was fiercely proud of the achievements of his children, Christopher, Victoria and Elle.

Peter William Bowers

(Volume XII, page web)

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